Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stage could be yours

The scene of the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" is up for auction, but the shipping costs could be prohibitive.

David Becker Staff Writer, CNET News.com
David Becker
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David Becker
2 min read
Found: the perfect gift for FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

A Boston-area businessman is selling the stage upon which Janet Jackson shocked the world with a flash of her naked breast during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Jack Hoover, of Fitchburg, Mass., has tried to dispose of the historical artifact several times in the past few weeks through online auction site eBay. He said he expects to relist the item again Wednesday (try searching for "+Jackson +stage"), in hopes he'll finally find someone willing to pony up the $9,500 minimum bid.

"I'm totally surprised it hasn't sold yet," he said. "The drawback is that for someone out of state, it's going to cost a lot to ship it. It cost me $2,000 to get it here from Texas."

Hoover acquired the aluminum curiosity in February, shortly after Jackson made a kind of history when pop star Justin Timberlake exposed one her breasts during a racy duet as part of the Super Bowl half-time show. The incident became the most recorded video clip ever for owners of TiVo video recorders, made search engine history, and eventually earned broadcaster CBS a $550,000 fine from Powell's Federal Communications Commission.

Hoover said he found the stage being auctioned on eBay by the Houston scrap dealer charged with dismantling gear at the Super Bowl. Sensing a one-of-a-kind promotional opportunity, he put in a winning bid and had it shipped to his Halloween costume shop and haunted house tour, where it became a popular but unorthodox part of the seasonal festivities.

"It has absolutely no fit other than that it's unique and it's been seen by millions of people," he said.

The stage even made a celebrity guest appearance this summer at a game by the Lowell Spinners, a Boston Red Sox farm team.

But Fitchburg officials have decided that displaying the stage requires a special permit, Hoover said, and he doesn't qualify, forcing him to look for a loving home for the 15-foot-tall, 1,200-pound aluminum curiosity.

Hoover said he's heard from a nearby businessman interested in using the stage as a sign platform, but he'd like to find someone who appreciates the stage's status as "a part of cultural history."